Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Celebrities picking crazy names for their kids, CT instigating fights on the Challenge, and the DePaul Blue Demons being the laughing stock of the Big East; all three are guarantees in life. DePaul has won just six conference games since Oliver Purnell took over three years ago and even with a new look Big East, the Blue Demons will once again be the laughing stock of the league.
DEPAUL BLUE DEMONS
Last Season: 15th, 2-17 in Big East, 11-21 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 10th
Projected Depth Chart
C: Sandi Marcius (Sr)/Forest Robinson (Jr)/Tommy Hamilton (Fr)
F: Cleveland Melvin (Sr)/Greg Sequele (Jr)/Peter Ryckbosch (So)
SF: Jamee Crockett (Jr)/DeJuan Marrero (Fr)
SG: Brandon Young (Sr)/Charles McKinney (Jr)/R.J. Curington (Fr)
PG: Billy Garrett Jr. (Fr)/Durrell McDonald (So)
Gone: PG-Worel Clahar, PF-Donnovan Kirk (transfer-Miami FL), SF-Jodan Price (transfer-Eastern Michigan), F-Montray Clemons (transfer-Pensacola JC), C-Derrell Robertson Jr. (transfer-San Francisco), SF-Moses Morgan (transfer)
Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young have been DePaul’s best two players the past three seasons and were the second best scoring duo in the Big East last season (fun fact: Providence’s Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Betts were the number one scoring duo, how’s that for a great bar question to your college basketball buddies.) Those numbers can be deceiving though as both guys have as many weaknesses and strengths. Neither shoots it that well from deep and has questionable shot selection while their defense is subpar at best. With it being their senior year, let’s see if they can round out their games and prove to be more than just scorers.
Young may spend more time playing off the ball as opposed to being the prime ball-handler due to the arrival of freshman point guard, Billy Garrett Jr. Coincidentally enough, Garrett’s dad is an assistant on Purnell’s staff which is probably the only reason he decided to stay home to play his college basketball.
Jamee Crockett, Charles McKinney, and Durrell McDonald return for DePaul but the team lost a handful of players to transfer this off-season meaning there will be a major need for new players to fill the minutes, particularly in the middle. Purdue transfer Sandi Marcius brings size and experience to the team but not a whole lot of skill. Junior college transfer Forrest Robinson and freshman Tommy Hamilton Jr. will compete with Marcius for playing time at center.
JUCO transfer Greg Sequele and DeJuan Marrero who missed all of last season because of a torn ACL will add depth at the forward position while R.J. Currington will likely find himself lost in the shuffle at guard. Purnell also picked up a commitment from Illinois transfer forward Myke Henry but he must sit out this season per NCAA rules.
For DePaul to make any sort of strides this season, they must become a better defensive team. No power conference team allowed more points last season than the DePaul Blue Demons. If that doesn’t change, neither will the team’s success. It could cost Purnell his job as well.
Player to Watch: Billy Garrett Jr.
Garrett Jr. has the poise and playmaking ability to step right into DePaul’s starting lineup and give them a natural floor general. Having someone like him to help set the table would take some of the pressure off Young who too often tries to do too much. With both Garrett and Young standing at 6-4, there would be great size in the backcourt as well. If the Blue Demons have any hope of making noise in the new Big East, Garrett has to be a producer from day one.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/25 vs. Wichita State (CBE Classic)
11/26 vs. Texas/BYU (CBE Classic)
12/1 vs. Oregon State
12/6 vs. Arizona State
12/27 at Northwestern
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)